Vegetation Shift Documented in Siberia’s Vast Boreal Forest

Trees and forests of continental Asia

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

Post Reply
User avatar
edfrank
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Vegetation Shift Documented in Siberia’s Vast Boreal Forest

Post by edfrank » Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:33 pm

Important Vegetation Shift
Documented in Siberia’s Vast Boreal Forest

http://e360.yale.edu/digest/important_v ... ent+360%29
Yale Environment 360 digest

25 Mar 2011: Important Vegetation Shift
Documented in Siberia’s Vast Boreal Forest
As Russia’s enormous boreal forest undergoes rapid warming, a significant shift in tree species is occurring, with evergreen trees such as spruce and fir creeping poleward as the iconic tree of Russia’s far


Click on image to see its original size
Wikimedia Commons

north, the larch, is in decline, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Virginia said the shift is expected to further hasten warming because of a fundamental difference between larch trees and evergreens. Larch is a species of conifer, but in the fall it sheds its golden needles, allowing sunlight to shine through the tree’s bare branches and reflect solar radiation off the snow and back into space, further cooling Russia’s northern regions. But as more warmth-tolerant evergreen species spread north, these trees — which do not shed their needles — absorb heat and increase temperatures, according to the research, published in Global Change Biology. The shift in species thus acts as a so-called positive feedback, further warming the region. This cycle of temperature increases could hasten the melt of permafrost, releasing large amounts of methane and CO2. “What we’re seeing is a system kicking into overdrive,” said Hank Shugart, professor of environmental sciences. “Warming creates more warming.”
.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

Post Reply

Return to “Asia”